Pantry Challenge Day 9: Late/Early/Late/Early

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This is Day 9 of my month-long Pantry Challenge series  where we’re eating down the pantry (and freezer and fridge) to use up what we have, rotate stock, and save some cash.

Today was a day that was slow getting started. I stayed up late dealing with server issues and was up early dealing with server issues. I went back to bed in order to make up the deficit which attributed to a late start on the day. I’m going to bed early tonight to help catch up. So this report will be short and sweet.


I made waffles for breakfast, what had been planned for yesterday. I had a bunch of squash puree thawing in the fridge, so I mixed that into the waffle mix. The kids didn’t notice and they loved buttering their waffles before pouring on syrup. For some reason several of them had never buttered a waffle. Say what?


Lunch was late because breakfast was late. We had leftover pulled pork and leftover tuna salad sandwiches.

The produce box came today, so we got replenished with fresh fruit and veg. I stopped by Sprouts later in the day to supplement what was missing. Spent $52 total, bringing our weekly total to a little over $100. Not bad, not bad.


For dinner I had planned pasta and red sauce, but I felt like having polenta. I haven’t forced anyone to make polenta, so I made it mostly for myself along with sauteed onions, mushrooms, and spinach. FishBoy15 made foccaccia. We added a green salad and ate well. We had gelato for dessert.

Day 9 Menus

Breakfast: Waffles
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Pasta with Red Sauce, Polenta with Sauteed Vegetables, Green Salad, Foccacia, Gelato

How’s the challenge going for YOU?

This post is part of a month-long Pantry Challenge series. You can read more about my goals for the challenge here.

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  1. Just rang out of steam tonight, have a toddler that is having a rough time come dinnertime. So husband cooked eggs, toast and beans. Love that i have everything in the pantry for these switching days. Lunch was leftovers and no breakfast as we were running late. (should clarify, lol, no breakfast for me, ds had a banana and a cheddar bunnies)

  2. Breakfast – oatmeal
    Lunch – chicken sandwich
    Dinner – Today was a road-warrior day for work. Left at 7:30 AM, didn’t get back into town until almost 9 PM, and wasn’t about to cook something then. A gift card was useful to pick up dinner. At least it was still “free” since it wasn’t money out of pocket.

  3. I was on the road for day 9.
    breakfast – I made the guys their ‘usual’ at home before I left; I ate yogurt that I brought with me on the road.
    lunch – packed lunchboxes for everyone (sandwich, cookies & apple for hubs; mac’n’cheese in a thermos, homemade larabar for ds), and took wraps & pretzels in the car with me
    dinner – the guys told me they were going out, but then later said they ate leftovers. YEA! (They *always* go out when I’m not home). I am staying at son #2’s apt, so I ate there.
    Not bad!

  4. Yet another good day here. Did have to go to the store for fruit, veg, milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, fish and veggie burgers (last 2 items were special requests from the college girl that’s home on break; her usual lunch fare). Spent $40 putting my monthly total at $65 which is still well below what the usual is. Cooked dinner in my workhorse (crockpot) so it was easy when I got home.

    Breakfast – finished off the leftover breakfast casserole from Tuesday night’s dinner
    Lunch – leftovers for me, hubs was away from home for work so he ate out, dd1 at home, dd2 at school
    Dinner – Taco Soup with shredded cheddar, sour cream and tortilla chips.
    Snacks – pretzels, string cheese, cashews

    Made a batch of chocolate chip muffins before bed so we’ve got easy breakfast fare this morning. Pulled buttermilk herb chicken and twice baked potatoes from the freezer for tonight’s dinner.

  5. As we are cleaning out the fridge/freezer/pantry, I have a funny thing that happened yesterday. I have been meaning to take everything out of my kitchen freezer and wipe down the shelves and take a decent inventory but have not done it yet. I went to go make dinner last night and found a waterfall in my freezer. Seems the waterline to the ice maker had busted. Everything had water on it, so I was forced to remove everything, dry it off and dry off the shelves (which also cleaned them). Instead of being upset, I just laughed and told my 11 year old dd that it was meant to happen to get me to clean the freezer out. I guess God has a way of working things out sometimes.

    Breakfast: Kids ate homemade waffles from the freezer and DH and I had a breakfast date (no babysitter!)
    Lunch: Turkey sandwiches, pretzels, used up a can of peaches from the pantry
    Dinner: Chicken and rice to use up a few pantry items (rice, cream of mushroom soup), remaining can of peaches, greenbeans

    Things are starting to get slim around here, I am headed to the grocery store today to replenish some needed items (ie. flour, sugar, etc.) Thanks for the motivation in getting everything in order in the New Year!

  6. Starting to see a bit of space in that overcrowded pantry and freezer.
    Breakfast-oatmeal, almonds, frozen blueberries
    Lunch-sweet potato chili from the freezer, apple
    Dinner-chicken breast, last box of instant potatoes and green beans
    Snack-eggos with Nutella (yum)
    I have about a week to go until things will get super creative.Still under $4 for the month. Must buy wine, but that comes from the entertainment budget 🙂

  7. I want to eat at your house.

  8. Confession: No true larder challenge here. We ate things down too much in the last couple months to pull it off (I think). However, I’m trying to trim spending by stretching, stretching every little thing I have. So for example, when we desperately needed some chicken soup for my sick family, I pulled cooked (frozen) turkey from MiL’s Christmas leftovers and some broth I made last week, hunted veg in the fridge, and skipped adding more onion because I needed the last one for dinner the next day. That saved me from defrosting frozen raw chicken, using the new carrots I just bought to prep for freezing, and having to buy more onions. Since I have a sick toddler, DH made a run to the store for lots of great toddler comfort food: bananas, juice, grapes. I’ll have to make another trip because we’re not going to get to the weekend on the homemade yogurt…Or maybe if I buy milk and starter yogurt today or tomorrow, I can have yogurt by Saturday afternoon. I think that will be soon enough! Oh, and we’ll need more lemons to keep the soothing elixir of lemon and honey supplied for DS. So, yeah, no larder challenge here, but I’m doing what I can!

    • @Lizzy, My usual mode is to use up what I have and restock occasionally. So I am in a similar situation. But I have been trying to use up items that have been hanging around or seemed like a good idea at the grocery store.

    • @Lizzy, love it that you call it a larder challenge. Someone’s paying attention to me! Ha! For me the pantry challenge is about being a good steward. It sounds like you are doing that really well.

  9. I hope you get yourself all rested up today.. and hope your server issues are now over…
    Day 9 was a very busy day for me.. and I was up late too.. didnt get into bed until almost 3am.. Eeek!

    Oatmeal with maple syrup for breakfast, then had an orange (got a 12# box of organic Texas oranges day before yesterday! Yay!) and a banana for a snack.. I had the last of the black eye peas with ham for lunch, then when I came home I was ravenous so I ate the rest of the leftover meatloaf, and then later I made home-made Chicken Cordon Bleu and asparagus for supper. Noodles for M’honey.

    I had a few pieces of ham leftover from New Years day and knew I needed to use it or loose it.. Same with some Amish swiss cheese I had hanging around. They both tasted ok so I figured I had best do something & quick. Having never made Cordon Bleu from scratch, I wasnt sure how they would work out, but they were perfect!! I’ll definitely do this again sometime. I used chopped up potato chips for my breading (gluten free) and regular breadcrumbs for M’honey. Other than being a little bit messy to dip & dunk & bread, they were super easy and tasty.

    Have a great day!

  10. Day 9 went well for me, too!
    Breakfast: toasted whole wheat English muffin with butter and peach preserves; milk.
    Lunch: (leftovers from the night before) ranch pork chops, fried yellow squash, and lima beans from the freezer.
    Dinner: whole wheat spaghetti with northern beans, capers, and lemon zest; brussels sprouts with rice wine vinegar
    Snacks: string cheese, blueberries
    So far, I’ve only spent $54 for the month and I won’t be needing to go back to the grocery store for at least another week. I’ve got most of the month’s meals planned out already, so I’m excited to see how creative I can be at stretching the dollar! Thanks for hosting this challenge!

  11. Heather M says:

    Jan. 9 was good here as well! Breakfast the usual: turkey sausage/minibagels/cereal/juice. Hubs & I had the muffins I made. Lunch: leftovers and lunchboxes.

    Dinner was a success. Made another (adjusted) new recipe. So good. A shrimp corn potato soup. From cupboards: cans of diced tomato, fire roasted green chilies, creamed corn; potatoes from before the holidays(used them just in time!). From freezer: 1 bag corn, 1 lb salad shrimp. Also used fresh ingredients. It was loaded with healthy stuff and tasted great!

    Stopped by grocery and stayed under $50 for this week. Our favorite mayo was BOGO, and it rarely goes on sale. Milk, a few snacks, salad, and tomato sauce(full cupboards and NO tomato sauce!) were on sale. Needed bread, green onions (we fly through these), berries(16yo eats them every day w/lunch), etc. Will now wait out the stores until a Costco run next week. Part of that won’t be grocery spending… I only consider food grocery. We’re low on paper towels, TP, etc. I’ll have to plan carefully so I only buy food/drink we need. We really want to have a fun spring break trip this year, so I may keep this pantry thing going as long as possible. The cupboards are pretty full still.

  12. Breakfast – Eggs and toast
    Lunch – PBand J sandwiches, fruit
    Dinner – Pasta with meat sauce, salad

    Did have to pick up milk and bananas. Total of $3.31 spend so far for the month!!! Wahoo!

  13. This is my first pantry challenge and my goal was to be able to defrost the upright freezer while we have a few warm days here in Kentucky. I am blessed to have 2 chest freezers, 1 upright and 2 fridge/freezers and they were all full before Christmas. This morning, I was able to move the few remaining items out of the upright to other freezer space and it has now been defrosted! I’ve also only spent $40 on essentials this month when my normal would have been around $300. The eating down is much more relaxing than the stockpiling was!

  14. I’ve only recently discovered your blog, which I love btw, and wanted to let you know that I’m also doing a pantry challenge via diaperswappers’ thrifty forum. So far my family of 4 has spent less than $15 on food this month. I have a large amount caned and frozen food, and after this month we will see how its gone and see if we are going to do it again 1 week a month. Actually it has been interesting to see how the boys have responded positively. I actually normally base the menu on what we have already on hand its just that they don’t base their menus that way so much (they are 8&9 and get to each cook 1x a week on a set dollar budget). We have been enjoying the frozen fruit salads that I keep making as I have a lot of frozen fruit from the summer months which I put up to make smoothies with.

  15. My challenge has been going great. I had been avoiding making pesto, I love it, but I knew I would hear lots of whining about the green sauce. With the challenge I felt like I had to make it. Turns out the peeps like it. Oh,they whined when they saw it. (What is it about green?). But they all liked it. Even had seconds!

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